AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, AND FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Why Is Nitrogen Gas Used to Fill Aircraft Tires Instead of Oxygen?

While much of the time and effort that goes into aviation design focuses on how to keep an aircraft in the air with as much efficiency and power as possible, it is almost equally important that it is able to effectively operate on the ground for takeoff, landing, and taxiing operations. While some aircraft may have skids for operating on water, a majority of modern aircraft feature wheel-based landing assemblies for maneuverability on hard-surfaces like those at runways and airports.

Despite the tires of aircraft having a very similar appearance to those on standard automobiles, their design choices and attributes often differ as a result of the stresses, hazards, and conditions that they face during typical operations. One major way in which aircraft tires differ from standard tires is by the gas that is used for inflation, such assemblies utilizing nitrogen gas instead of oxygen like other vehicles. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of using nitrogen gas for airplane tires and why it helps keep flight operations safe.

With modern aircraft weighing more and traveling faster than ever, aircraft tire and wheel assemblies are faced with high amounts of shock on touchdown. In order to prevent issues such as assembly damage, tire explosion, etc., these tires must be able to properly absorb all the forces of shock. Beyond the general design of tire plies and assembly components, nitrogen gas also plays a major role.

One major reason as to why nitrogen is used is because it prevents the collection of moisture in tires. If one was to pump air into the tires, it would introduce moisture. As aircraft operate on varying atmospheric levels where temperatures and pressures fluctuate, this moisture can create problems that extend past general wear and tear. One issue of moisture is the risk of corrosion as oxygen and moisture may cause oxidation which will corrode tires from the inside out. Nitrogen is known for not containing any moisture, ensuring that sealed tire assemblies remain safe from the harmful effects of corrosion.

As discussed before, pressure often fluctuates based on altitude, so it is important that pressure can remain as consistent as possible. Nitrogen gas is known for remaining fairly stable in terms of pressure as pressure changes often occur based on moisture vapor freezing. As there is no moisture to freeze, there is little chance of inconsistent pressures or fluctuations. Nevertheless, it can be important to gauge tire pressure between flights so that PSI values can be kept consistent.

As the final reason for why nitrogen is specifically chosen, such gasses have a much lower chance of flammability when compared to oxygen. When oxygen is in the presence of a heat source, there is a chance that it can ignite as it is one of the main three elements that is needed for combustion. If ignition occurs, the tire may explode. With tire assemblies regularly being faced with high amounts of heat due to the stresses of landing, nitrogen makes things safer and more reliable. As safety is paramount for aviation, this non-flammability is a major advantage and need.

If you are in the market for airplane tire assembly components, look no further than Alpha NSN. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are your source for top-quality decal inflate tire components, placard inflate tires, aircraft tire maintenance parts, and so much more. All of the items on our website are ready for purchase at any time, and we encourage you to take advantage of our online RFQ forms to request quotes on items of interest with ease. Once we receive a completed form, a member of our staff will reach out to continue the purchasing process in 15 minutes or less. See why countless customers rely on Alpha NSN when you get in touch with our team today!


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